Cold, snow, and impassible roads: how the district determines a snow day

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Jan. 7, 2014

By Tara Cavanaugh

School was supposed to resume both Monday and Tuesday this week following a two-week holiday break. But on Sunday a severe cold snap brought strong winds, dangerously low wind chills and over a foot of snow into the area. The weather was so severe that at 4 p.m. the district cancelled Monday’s classes, and on Monday afternoon Tuesday’s classes were cancelled due to the severe temperatures in a joint decision by all the districts in Washtenaw County.

The district follows its Inclement Weather Closing Protocol to monitor potentially hazardous conditions before deciding to cancel school. The district consults with the Washtenaw County Sheriff, the WISD Transportation Department, and the City of Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County road departments. Road conditions, the timing of the road clearing schedule, the conditions of school drives and sidewalks, and the weather forecast are all considered.

“Student safety remains our top priority at all times in the Ann Arbor Public Schools,” said AAPS Superintendent Dr. Jeanice Swift. “In particular, during times of inclement weather, we must balance the importance of having our students in classrooms with our top priority of maintaining student safety.

“When it becomes challenging to ensure student safety in the process of getting students to school, we must decide in favor of student safety by canceling classes for the day. That is exactly what occurred during this current winter storm.”

In the event that the district decides to close school, district officials notify parents of the closing via the Schoolmessenger phone and email service no later than 6 a.m. Every attempt is made to notify families and staff as soon as the decision is made. The district also uses its website, Facebook page, Twitter account as well as Detroit television and radio stations and Ann Arbor news outlets to communicate the closing with families.

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